Russia: Death of a Survivor

No one attempts to safeguard poets or artists; it is generally overlooked that, by the very character of their profession, a scratch may prove mortal.

And then you file slowly past a grave and throw a flower.

—Ilya Ehrenburg

For much of the prolific literary lifetime of the Russian who wrote those lines, the deceptively romantic tone overlay the steely facts of Soviet life.

The scratch of a pen that grated Stalin could prove mortal to its author, and Ilya Ehrenburg set out to safeguard himself from an early, flowered grave. Survive he did,...

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